Apex court lifeline to Govt
All eyes are set on the Supreme Court hearing on the issue of slaughter of bovine and the ban on sale of beef in the State.
The Apex court is hearing a plea against two different orders of the State High Court pertaining to slaughter of the bovines and enforcement of ban on sale of beef.
The SC hearing has provided a lifeline to the seven-month-old coalition government of the Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janta Party as the stand taken by the two parties in the Jammu Kashmir assembly on the issue of beef ban would prove to be a litmus test for the two parties.
The autumn session of Jammu Kashmir Assembly is likely to be a stormy one with the opposition parties to train their guns at the government over the issue of beef ban, failure of the government to rehabilitate the flood-affected people and mysterious killings.
However, Speaker Kavinder Gupta has said he would first go through the Supreme Court ruling on the beef ban issue and only then take a call on the bills seeking lifting of the ban in the State.
Opposition National Conference (NC), CPI (M) and independent MLA Engineer Rashid have submitted separate bills seeking revocation of the 150-year-old law that bans cow slaughter and sale of beef in the State.
NC General Secretary, Ali Muhammad Sagar said legally and constitutionally, the government cannot stop the bills that the legislators had brought seeking an end to beef ban.
The issue would test the government as the two coalition partners have diagrammatically opposite stands over it with PDP having to take care of the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir and BJP of the Hindu-majority districts of Jammu region.
MLA Sonwar and the ruling PDP leader, Muhammad Ashraf Mir said the PDP Legislature Party meeting and the joint meeting of the PDP and the BJP legislators, which was chaired by Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, had already decided that the final call on the issue of beef ban would be dealt by the Speaker.
However, if the passage of bills is sabotaged in the assembly, the autumn session may witness the heat of the summers.
The HC decision on implementing beef ban had forced people to go for a complete shutdown across Kashmir and prompted calls for mass cow slaughter on Eid-ul-Adha, the religious festival of Muslims.
In Maharaja Gulab Singh’s time, cow slaughter was punishable with life imprisonment while Maharaja Ranbir Singh ordered slitting a woman’s tongue for beating a cow that had torn some clothes she had hung out to dry.
In Jammu Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state of India, the recent announcement calling for implementing the ban on cow slaughter has evoked a widespread response among the Muslim community with most believing that the PDP-BJP-PC government led by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was implementing the Hindutava agenda.
The ruling evoked strong resentment from various quarters with many separatist and religious organizations terming it as “interference in religious affairs” and sought revocation of the law, besides pressing for implementation of ban on liquor in the State.